Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Veeka heads for Seattle
Yes, folks, her mom snagged a business trip to Seattle and the LA area so the relatives will help look after Olivia Veronika while I run around and interview folks involved in the "new sanctuary" movement. That's churches that are sheltering illegal immigrants - a descendant of the 1980s sanctuary movement that moved lots of Central American refugees around the States just head of "la Migra." So by the time you are reading this on Thursday the 13th, we'll be in the air hopefully enjoying an event-free flight. Am praying the little one does not throw a fit on both flights (we change in Minneapolis) and I am taking the car seat along to make sure she stays put. She does love to wander...
The photo shows Veeka on a dawn walk to the beach at Bethany Beach in Delaware. We just had a great weekend there - fantastic weather - and THEN, at 5:45 a.m. Monday, my phone rang. My daycare provider told me she was desperately sick and had no backup. So I was on my own regarding my little 28-month-old. I called 1-2 folks but no one can babysit on only 4 hours notice, I learned. I did get one friend to watch her for about 90 minutes while I fulfilled a doctor's appointment, but then Veeka was back in my car headed off to the Washington Times newsroom.
She pretty much charmed everyone there, took a 2-hour nap and was fine til about 4:30 when she began getting a bit fussy. I managed to quiet her down pretty much. And wouldn't you know it, some doofus across the newsroom who wanted to stay anonymous complained to the features editor who came to my boss and so at 5 p.m. I was told I needed to take Veeka home. How sad - the TWT newsroom has TVs blaring, people swearing and loudly ranting and someone is bugged by a kid?!
That killjoy coworker should be glad he/she didn't have my assignment today which was to show up at a press conference on Capitol Hill filled with Latino families with tons of kids all asking for decent immigration law. You've never seen such a raucous press conference filled with chants in Spanish and catcalls of one type or another. Plus nearly everyone there dressed *down* for some reason; a lot of folks looked one step from being homeless, which is not the kind of dress code one usually sees in the Rayburn building.
The high point of that gathering was when Saul Arellano, 8, led about 200 of us through the hallways to Nancy Pelosi's office. It was near-riot conditions; lots of folks shouting slogans in Spanish; kids hoisting signs saying "Born in the USA - Don't take my mommy and daddy away" and the like. Saul's mom, Elvira Arellano, got deported Aug. 19 after she hid in a church for a year claiming sanctuary, so Saul is the new immigration icon. The idea was to take a large letter and make out like the Wittenburg Door of 1531 - nail it to Nancy Pelosi's office door. The missive demanded the Democrats do better on immigration reform.
However, when this ragtag army showed up at Nancy's place at the Cannon House Office Building, there were already 40 anti-war protestors having a sit-in inside the Pelosi palace so the Hispanics had to be content with standing outside in the hallway and shouting slogans at earsplitting levels. Poor little Saul just stood there, unable to get through to the door (which a security guard slammed shut on us all). I was crammed against the door with several other journos wedged between it and the TV cameras. Finally someone *taped* the letter (this is after all the 21st century) to the door at which everyone let out mammoth cheers. At the same time, 6 Capitol Hill police showed up, ready to arrest everyone.
Well, my story on it all is in the Sept. 13 TWT if you want to read more of this drama. But I stayed late at work putting that together, then coming home to PACK. And now we are off early Thursday and soon I will post answers to your questions. Like, how will Veeka survive 12 days without a kitty? How will Oma and Opa survive multi hours with a 2-year-old? Which one of Oma's treasures will Veeka break first? Stay tuned to our adventures in this newest episode of "Veeka Does Seattle."